KAIRANA(SHAMLI): The battle-lines have been drawn.
Ahead of first phase of Uttar Pradesh elections on February 10, the poll plot has shifted to Kairana, the hotbed of communal violence since 2014 that saw the exodus of several Hindus families.
But was the tension always simmering between Hindus vs Muslims here? No.
BJP’s candidate Mriganka Singh tells The New Indian that 100 years ago there was only one gotra — Kalshan Chauhan that existed here. Most locals agree with this. Some embraced Islam and got converted. Mriganka says that even her opponent and Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Nahid Hasan was a Hindu.
“There was only one gotra 100 years ago here. That Gotra was Kalshan Chauhan. Samajwadi Party candidate Nahid Hasan’s gotra was the same as Chaupal family of Kairana. Hasan’s family got converted into Islam, others remained Hindus,” says Mriganka while speaking at her home.
“While freedom to practice religion must always but there can’t be denying that conversion took place here and still takes,” says Pramod Chauhan, a farmer near Alkalan Colony.
“We all have the same family tree, the differences erupted when either conversions took place or atrocities began to be committed on peaceful Hindu families here,” Jagdish Singh from Titalwara village.
Sitting with her family members at her farmhouse and surrounded by livestock, Mriganka looks perturbed with the demographic changes in her constituency but is confident that her party would repeat the success of 2014 and 2019 when BJP registered big wins in Kairana Lok Sabha constituency
Mriganka, who has herself taken the poll jump for the second time, however, insists that atrocities committed by SP candidates and their supporters including Hasan over the last two decades emboldened their resolve to disturb the peace and harmony between Muslims, Jats, Gujjars and Dalits of Kairana before the shift in power in 2017 brought an end to this “tyranny”.
“Due to social reasons, Muslims in Kairana are today more than 60 % in number and Hindus form 40 %. But I believe they will pull towards the BJP due to development and infrastructure projects as basic as providing a police security post in the areas where Hindus live or bringing highways to connect Kairana with Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar,” she says.
Mriganka had lost to Hasan in 2017 and his mother Tabassum in 2018.
Her father and then BJP MP Hukum Singh, who had won the Lok Sabha election from Kairana in 2014, had claimed that close to 350 Hindus had left under threats from criminals from this seat. The charges were ratified by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Most of them began returning to their homes 2018 onwards, a process that continues till now.
“It was unfortunate and true that Hindu businessmen and traders were shot at in 2014 and down and they left this place in fear. They came back after 2018-2020 when Yogi government came . Now there’s reverse palayan. That of criminals. People don’t want this MLA Nahid Hasan,” Mriganka points out.
On Sunday, BJP UP poll-incharge Anurag Thakur had too raised issue involving Hasan’s arrest while the party inducted a senior IPS, 1994-batch UP-cadre officer Asim Arun, who led counter-terror operations during his stint as anti-terror squad (ATS) chief when he busted first ISIS module of India in 2017.
“Samajwadi Party’s list begins with jail and ends with bail. Whether you pick Loni or Kairana candidate, while people with strong academic and professional credentials and IPS ike Asim Arun join us,” Thakur had said.